How Does the COVID-19 Pandemic Ignite the Gospel?
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The rapid spread of COVID-19 has taken nearly everyone by surprise. It has knocked us on our heels and caused a level of panic to rise in even the calmest among us.
But perseverance is in the spiritual DNA of the Christian.
As you read this, God is still on His throne, we are still His beloved children, and, as the Bible proclaims, today is still the day of salvation for those who have not heard.
In fact, opportunities are flourishing to share the gospel in the midst of the difficult times we find ourselves in today. While we all need to heed social distancing guidelines, the digital realm opens for us a whole new world of opportunities to reach friends, co-workers, and loved ones with the only gospel that saves.
But first, I want to hone in on why COVID-19 has created such a unique opportunity for the proclamation of the gospel. It has heightened everyone’s senses to at least three important things that we already know are true: The fragile nature of life, the instability of the world, and the insufficiency of material possessions.
The Fragile Nature of Life
It comes as no surprise that not one of the 6+ billion on the planet 125 years ago remain today. The same will be true of all of us 125 years from now. Life comes and it goes. However, when something like COVID-19 comes along, we can’t tuck statistics like this into the back of our minds. We are confronted with the reminder every day and during every minute of news coverage that our lives are indeed vapors – here today and gone tomorrow.
This creates a doorway to speak openly about the fragile nature of life. How we by nature crave something that is not fragile, but is unbreakable, unmovable, and everlasting. This craving is satisfied by Christ alone. Of course, this was true before COVID-19 and will be true long after, but people are more open to the salve of Christ – the Undefeatable Savior – than most other times.
The Instability of the World
We all desire stability. We want to trust that things are going to be alright – and that they’ll stay that way. While we all know the world offers no such promise, man still hopes for it, yearns for it, and fights for it. When something like COVID-19 comes along, it pulls the curtain back so that all can see that the hope and yearning are misplaced. Everything from our financial systems and supply chains to protection from health threats can be destabilized in a blink of an eye. Everyone is confronted with the truth that has been present since Genesis 3 – the world is broken.
Our job is to help others see that the expectation of utopian stability is not a false hope – it’s just misplaced. There is stability is Christ. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is always. He is the Alpha and Omega. He offers unimaginable stability – forgiveness of our sin and security in Him for all eternity.
The Depth of Depravity
The notion that “most people are good” tends to go out the window during mass panic. Most people are flooding stores to buy more than they’ll ever need for self-preservation. External pressures have to be placed on the masses by organizations or local/federal entities to force goodwill. People are fighting in some areas over toilet paper.
This is just one small example, but it highlights the greater issue. Man, because of his sinful nature, is not prone to be gracious and merciful – he is prone to fight for “number one” – himself. Toilet paper may be a humorous example now, but if the shortage moves to food and other things essential for life, mans’ response will not look better – it will look much worse.
You know who is not like that? The One who set aside His glory with the Father, His dominance over all creation, His authority over all things in heaven and on earth – the One who became “lower than the angels” (whom He created) so that He could live alongside us, suffer alongside us, and endure every temptation. He selflessly lived among us perfectly and in full innocence as the one and only God-man to create a way for us to be redeemed for all eternity. What did He gain? Fame? No. Fortune? No. Admiration? No. While gaining nothing, He gave all to redeem those He has called to Himself.
The Spark of Something Better
In the midst of these examples, we find sparks of something better. We see acts of selflessness as people donate money, goods, and services to organizations and people in need. We find people hand-making masks to send to hospitals and volunteering their talents to help any way they can. It’s a beautiful thing to see, and it also acknowledges something we often try to ignore (and that has already been mentioned above): the world is broken. We recognize it’s not supposed to be this way. We fully take in the wrongness within the world and we do what we can to fix it.
However, our acts of goodwill are limited, intermittent, and often unreliable – he who helps you today may hurt you tomorrow. And what’s worse, more wrongness always waits around the corner. It’s a sick cycle fueled by the Fall.
So to the Fall is where we must turn. It’s the ultimate example of wrongness as we rebelled against God. And unlike us, God did not “try” to fix it. He perfectly addressed it through the sacrifice of His son.
While we ebb and flow with acts of selflessness, Jesus, through the giving of Himself, is the personification of selflessness for all eternity. Our intermittent acts of goodwill hint at something better – Someone better – He who is not intermittent, but died once for all so that we can forever rest in the security of salvation.
Make no mistake, COVID-19 is a nasty virus, and it requires us to be wise and kind in how we talk with others. But the opportunities to share the only hope that matters are plentiful. I pray you’re able to take advantage of them for the glory of God.
Copyright © 2020 Brock Anderson, used with permission.
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